What is an Au pair exchange family and how to find it
In this article, we will try to briefly consider the main issues that relate to the interaction of an au pair with parents in a host family.
First contact with host family via skype or phone
The need for this contact arises when there is an interest in au pair on the part of the family or when the au pair expresses a desire to get to know a potential family.
The purpose of this conversation is to get to know the future family, ask each other questions of interest, and most importantly: see the children.
The consequences of the interview are quite serious, because on the basis of it the family decides on the choice of the candidate. The future au pair also has a choice, depending on the conclusions after the first contact.
Host family questions during the interview
We advise you to think carefully about what issues you would like to discuss with your future family. It is advisable to write them out separately before the interview so not to miss anything.
Below are some common questions to ask when communicating with host parents on skype:
- What do children like to do?
- How does the family spend their free time?
- How does the family spend their vacation?
- Do they have relatives to visit?
- When do they expect an au pair?
- Did they have previously an au pair before?
- Why is an au pair from Ukraine considered?
Answers to family's questions
Try to imagine that you have a second cousin living abroad. Imagined? Now you have an idea of the manner in which the interview will take place. The following questions will be the first to hear in an interview:
- When can you come? You need to answer tactfully. The deadline for processing documents takes several weeks, so it is necessary to bring up to date information to the family.
- What prompted you to go to this country, why did you decide to participate in this particular program, what attracts you working with children?
We recommend that you prepare specific and reasoned answers to these questions in advance. They must be truthful, relevant, tactful and fun.
Exchange family's expectation from au pair
First of all, the parents of the host family expect help with children and simple housework duties. Therefore, it is important to initially imagine participation in the program not as a vacation. You are responsible for the children, for the comfort of the house, for the timely completion of work, for maintaining an active lifestyle in the family.
What can au pair expect from a host family
The most important thing you can really expect is a new family, in which you will be an integral part during the validity of the Au pair contract.
Communication via skype, email or whatsapp will help to prepare as much as possible for various situations that may arise in practice. Thanks to the initial communication, the future au pair clearly understands what to expect from the family after arrival.
Au Pair insurance
All au pair are covered with standart insurance. In Europe, the maximum amount of payments is 30 thousand euros, in the USA - 50 thousand dollars. The insurance does not cover expenses related to chronic illness and dental visits.
For a safe and comfortable stay in an unfamiliar country, we recommend downloading an offline map of a city or country to your smartphone and always having an identity document (passport) with you.
In case of any emergency, there are emergency services in every country. In case of an unusual situation, be sure to contact foster parents in order to mitigate its consequences as much as possible.
In case of conflicts
In the event of domestic misunderstandings, try to resolve them first with your host family. If, after speaking with the family, your rights continue to be violated, we advise you to inform us or our partner organization in the host country.
Approach to parenting
It is important to understand that the au pair does not go to another country to bring up children, but helps to cope with their upbringing. The program participant sets an example for the children. Au pair is an older sister (brother), shows her opinion on different situations. It also helps to engage in the development of children by organizing various games for them.
Dress code, personal hygiene
You will not need to wear a uniform during the program. Dress code is casual, as the au pair is a member of the same family as yours. If you wish, you can take with you or buy personal hygiene items on the spot.
What the family eats
Quite an important question. Foreigners may react with fear when they see you cooking buckwheat. It is imperative to determine with the parents their method and style of eating. If you simply don’t like the food or it doesn’t suit your diet, you have the right to discuss with your family a list of necessary purchases for your meals. No one will promise that they will buy you salmon or various delicacies. This should be a perfectly adequate request in line with your health standards.
Driving a car
This question can be discussed during the interview, but it is understandable that this way it will be difficult to find out the level of your skills. Therefore, be prepared if, upon arrival, your parents arrange a kind of test, instructing you to go to the grocery store. At the same time, they will sit in the car and observe your driving.
If this level leaves much to be desired, this may cause discontent among the parents, and they will consider the words in the corresponding section of the questionnaire a lie, which will entail the need to pack things for the trip in the opposite direction. In any case, it is important to first discuss any wishes regarding your driving style.
Duties and responsibilities
Au pair responsibilities are 70% babysitting and 30% household duties. You will make sure that the children are fed, cleanly dressed, have all the conditions for proper development, are present in a good mood, and go to bed on time. It will also be required to maintain a clean room and a supply of essential food.
The family is the minimum unit of society that creates the culture of the whole country, so it is very important to understand its mentality. It would be great to read in advance information about the culture, mentality and living conditions in the host country.
Your free time belongs exclusively to you. You will be able to carry it out at your own discretion and for your pleasure, whether it be playing sports, taking language courses or traveling to a neighboring city or on the coast.
The main feature of the profit from participation in the program is that it is not taxed, since it is not considered a salary, but a small reward for providing assistance.
In each country, the amount of pocket money is different.
Your personal life
It is worth noting that this item is completely dependent on each participant individually and his attitude towards his own personal life. It is important that you continue to be a member of the family, and if your love life does not interfere with this, great.
Au pairs are often placed in families with different religions. However, you don't have to maintain your family's religious rituals, so don't worry about that.
The presence of bad habits should not be hidden. If you smoke, drink alcohol, it is better to indicate this in the questionnaire. Otherwise, it may provoke negative feedback from the parents, which will cause the au pair to be sent to Ukraine.
Attitude to sports
Leading an active lifestyle is a definite plus. Looking at you, other family members, even the most passive ones, may become interested in your hobby, be it basketball, volleyball or table tennis.
Using mobile phone
Obviously, it would be more profitable for international communication to use programs for communicating on the Internet (vibe, skype, whatsapp and other messengers). In the host country, a family buys a SIM card from a certain provider with a tariff so that they can communicate at any time.
Au Pair room requirements
There are strict criteria for the placement of the au pair. The room must be at least 8 square meters in size and must be equipped with a sleeping place and the necessary furniture. At the request of the family, a personal computer or laptop with wifi access can be provided.
How long does an au pair work in a host family
The number of working hours depends on the specific country where you want to go as an au pair.
For example: in Belgium you work up to 20 hours, in the USA up to 45 hours a week.
There are approximately 5-7 working hours per day, which are scheduled for the whole day in a special weekly schedule.
More information on each Au pair country.